Societal Culture- Dimensions

Societal culture-Determinants– According to Sriramesh “power distance describes the vertical stratification of a society where members of different strata are accorded different levels of importance and status. Collectivism refers to the extent to which members of a culture value the individual over the collectivity. Masculinity/femininity refers to the gender-based assignment of roles in a society. Uncertainty avoidance refers to the extent to which members of a culture can tolerate and cope with ambiguity. Lastly Confucian dynamism explains the long-term versus short-term worldviews of the members of a society that stratify the society and define role differentiation for members of different strata.”

Power Distance

With the caste system India has a high power distance. The Indian caste system has fixed a rigid hierarchy at all levels of society. Indians accept this system with its built-in obligations and duties. The caste system brings continuity and a structure for predictable relationships, while allowing some flexibility for individuals who demonstrate merit.

An Indian boss is expected to be a caring patron who initiates promotion for his or her subordinates when the time is right. In return, the junior staff shows heightened respect for their superiors. Most decisions in business are made at a senior level, although juniors might be consulted.

In more bureaucratic organizations, displaying loyalty to the superior and one’s own role can, on occasion, become more important than achieving the organization’s goals. Although top people are quite inaccessible to junior staff, vertical relationships are often formed and maintained for self-interest. This means that there is room for negotiation on targets and results, depending on the strength of personal loyalties.


When it comes to India and Collectivism there was a study done that showed that when it come to concerns for family or family members they evoked a purely collectivist behavior. But when urgent personal needs and goals conflicted with the interests of family or friends this led to a mixture of individualist and collectivist behavior and intentions. Indivualist behavior intended to serve collectivist interests was the third most frequently opted choice. Respondents’ education had a significant effect and other background variables had indeterminate effects on the choice of either purely collectivist or a mix of collectivist and individualist behavior and intentions.


Although there exist many feminists and women advocating for women’s rights and greater equality in India, their view’s on gender roles is still one considered backward compared to Western society. The role of each gender in Indian society is one that is steeped in religion and culture and makes for an oppressive tradition.

There are many factors that contribute to the oppression of women in India; these include geographical locations throughout the country, education, and economic and religious reasons. Indian women usually suffer from a low social status compared to men and are sometimes treated negatively. But on the other hand women are revered in Hindu practices with many ceremonies dedicated to them, but Indian society and laws still fail to treat women with equal rights as men.

Uncertainty avoidance

In low Uncertainty Avoidance cultures they use informality in interaction with others, and often rely on informal norms and behaviors in most matters. Also, they will show moderate resistance to change.

Cultures with low uncertainty avoidance people abide by only a few rules and live a life with little set structure, one that is loose and free; they will appear to be calm and collected. Also, they are interested most likely in entrepreneurship and business matters.

Some of the lowest uncertainty avoidance countries are unsurprisingly USA, UK, India, China and Indonesia, perhaps in an obvious way if you understand the concept of Uncertainty avoidance. These countries often are large capitalist countries that invest heavily and produce a lot while exhibiting signs of high and risky behavior.

Confucian Dyamism

India has many factors that affect their world view, but most importantly the people of India have pride and respect for their nation. This respect allows each subculture to continue to be unique, but they also hold an understanding that tradition and history is their backbone.  According to David Levinson, author of Ethnic Groups Worldwide, India’s national cohesion is supported by a number of a factors, including the relatively autonomous state governments, the mixed ethnic populations of many states, the open political process with its many competing factions and parties, a long and rich common history, the legacy of Hinduism, and an acceptance of language diversity.

It seems, however, that the caste system is what holds the social institutions together.  The caste system was originated through religion, and according to Hindu India it determines one’s behavior in a previous life by the behavior in the current life.  Thus, acting in ways prescribed by caste status is the only way an individual can achieve a higher caste rank in the next life; therefore, the caste system sets the standards of motivation and behavior of its members.



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